Child Custody Decisions

Here you will find decisions concerning child custody.

  • More Than Two Parents for One Child - Under what circumstances is a non-parent entitled to parenting time? A lesbian couple (A & B) gave birth to a child via a sperm donor. The non-biological mother adopted the child and was listed on the child's birth certificate. The parents separated and agreed on a custody schedule. Parent B entered into a domestic partnership with a third party C. When B & C dissolved their Domestic Partnership, C sought parenting time with the child. Both A and B argued against it because they never consented to a parent-child relationship between C and the child. The trial court agreed that both parents would have had to foster a parent-child relationship between the child and C before C could argue that she was a psychological parent. The Appellate Court reversed and held that C was not barred from exerting that she was a psychological parent. While there is a presumption that the natural/adoptive parents will have custody, a third party can overcome this presumption by showing that the parents are unfit or that there are "exceptional circumstances." One example of "exceptional circumstances" is when the third party is a psychological parent. Making this determination requires a multi-step test that looks, in part, at whether the legal parent consented and fostered a parent-child relationship between the third party and the child. The policy is to avoid severe psychological harm to a child. It is sufficient for one parent to foster such a relationship to give an alleged psychological parent standing to bring an action seeking parenting time. However, the lack of consent by the other parent is a factor to be considered at a hearing. The Court dismissed the argument that a child can only by definition have two fit parents. K.A.F. v. D.L.M.